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By WlLHELM AND Jakob Grimm
YOUNG drummer was one evening walking across the fields, and as he came to a lake he saw lying on the shore three pieces of white linen.
"What fine linen!" he said; and taking up one piece he put it in his pocket. He went home, thought no more of what he had found, and went to bed. Just as he was going to sleep he thought he heard some one call out his name, and heard distinctly a gentle voice say, "Drummer, drummer, wake up!"
At first in the dark he could distinguish nothing, but presently he saw hovering over his bed a light form.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Give me back my dress," answered the voice, "which you took away from the lake to-night."
"You shall have it," said the drummer, "if you will tell me who you are."
"Ah," cried the voice, "I am the daughter of a mighty king, but I have fallen into the power of a witch, and am confined to a glass mountain. Each day I am obliged to bathe in the lake with my two sisters; but without my dress I cannot fly back to the iceberg, and my sisters have already gone away and left me alone. I pray you, therefore, to give me back my dress."
"Be at peace, poor child," said the drummer: "you shall have your dress very soon." Then he took the piece of linen out of his pocket and offered it to her in the darkness. She seized it hastily, and was going away. "Wait one moment," he said; "can I not help you in any way?"
"You could only help me," she replied, "by climbing the glass mountain and freeing me from the witch's power. But you could not reach the mountain; or even if you did, you would be unable to climb to the top."
"What I wish to do, I can do," said the drummer. "I feel great compassion for you, and.I fear nothing; but I do not know where the mountain is, nor the way to it."
"The road lies through a large forest," she replied, "and you must pass several inns on your way. More than this I dare not tell you."
Then he heard the rush of wings, and she was gone. By the break of day the drummer was up and ready. He hung his drum on his shoulder and started without fear to cross the forest. After walking for some time and not meeting any giants, he thought to himself, "I must wake up the lazy sleepers." So he turned his drum before him and played such a tantara that the birds on the trees flew away screaming.
Xot long after, a giant who had been sleeping in the grass rose up and stood before him. He was as tall as a fir tree, and cried out to the drummer:
"You wretched little creature! what do you mean by waking people up out of their best sleep with your horrid drum?"
"I drummed to wake you," he replied, "because I did not know the way."
"What do you want here in my wood?" asked the giant.
"Well, I wish to free the forest from such monsters as you are!"
"Oho!" cried the giant; "why, I could crush you beneath my foot as I would crush an ant!"
"Don't suppose you are going to do any such thing!" cried the drummer. "If you were to stoop down to catch hold of one of us he would jump away and hide himself, and when you were lying down to sleep his people would come from every bush and thicket, each carrying a steel hammer in his girdle. They would creep cautiously upon you, and soon with their hammers beat out your brains!"
This assertion made the giant rather uneasy. "If I meddle with these cunning little people," he thought, "they can, no doubt, do me some mischief. I can easily strangle wolves and bears, but I cannot defend myself against these earthworms."
"Listen, little man," he said. "I pledge myself that you and your companions shall for the future be left in peace. And now tell me what you wish, for I am quite ready to do your pleasure."
"You have long legs," said the drummer, "so that you can run more swiftly than I can. Carry me to the glass mountain, and I will take that as a proof of your kind feeling toward us, and my people shall leave you in peace."
"Come here, worm," said the giant; "seat yourself on my shoulders, and I will carry you wherever you wish."
The giant then lifted him up, and the drummer soon began to play away on his drum to his heart's content. The giant was quite satisfied; he thought this would be a sign to the rest of the little people that he was friendly to them.
After a while a second giant made his appearance, and he took the drummer from the first and stuck him in the buttonhole of his coat. The drummer seized the button, which was as large as a dish, and holding fast by it, looked about him quite contentedly. Presently came a third, who took him from the buttonhole and placed him on the brim of his hat, from which elevation he could look over the tree tops.
All at once, in the blue distance, he espied a mountain. "Ah!" thought he, "that is certainly the glass mountain"; and so it was.
The giant, after a few more steps, reached the foot of the mountain, and then he lifted the drummer from his hat and placed him on the ground. The little man wished to be carried to the top of the mountain; but the giant shook his head, murmured something in his beard, and went back to the wood.
There stood the poor little drummer at the foot of the mountain, which looked as high above him as if three mountains had been placed one upon another. The sides were as slippery as a mirror, and there seemed no possible means of reaching the top. He began to climb, but he slid backward at every step. If I were a bird, now," he said to himself; but it was only half a wish, and no wings grew.
While he thus stood, not knowing how to help himself, he saw at a little distance two men struggling together. He went up to them and found that they were quarreling about a saddle which lay on the ground between them, and which each wished to have.
THE DRUMMER ON THE BRIM OF THE GIANT S HAT
"What fools you must be," he cried, "to want a saddle when you have not a horse to place it upon!"
"This saddle is worth a contest," said one of the men; "for whoever seats himself upon it and wishes himself somewhere, even if it be at the end of the world, will have his wish the moment it is uttered."
"The saddle is our joint property, and it is my turn to ride it; but my companion will not let me," said the other.
"I will soon put an end to this contention," said the drummer. "Go to a little distance and stick a